Where is Bash Bish Falls State Park
Bash Bish Falls State Park is located in Mt. Washington, Massachusetts. The state park is located just 3 miles east of the New York State border, and 10 miles north of the Connecticut border. The city of Albany, New York is 1 hour north of the state park. The city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts is about an hour north east.
Bash Bish Falls US State Park is adjacent to the 4,000-acre Mount Washington State Forest and 5,000-acre Taconic State Park in New York State. The Appalachian Trail winds through the Mt Washington State Forest. The Appalachian Trail is a 2,190-mile trail connecting the north to south side of the east coast US.
Copake town is the closest town to the state park, an 8-minute drive west into New York State. Another town with services nearby is Hillsdale, a 12-minute drive north into New York state. Great Barrington, Massachusetts is the closets town in the same state located a 26-minute drive north east.
How Big is Bash Bish Falls State Park
Bash Bish Falls State Park is 424 acres at 1,132 feet elevation. The waters of the falls begin at a spring in Mount Washington, turning into Bash Bish Brook, continues through New York State joining the Hudson River.
Bash Bish Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall in Massachusetts’ at nearly 80 feet high. The falls are a series of cascades and the last fall’s split into a twin fall and drops 80 feet. There are many hiking trails to view the falls and explore the park. There are two access points to get to the main falls, one from New York state and one from Massachusetts state side.
Bash Bish Falls State Park Weather
The weather in this area is comfortable year-round to enjoy the falls. Winter cools down to 30 degrees but stays dry with precipitation only averaging 3 inches a month. Winter is from December to March with an average high of 37 degrees and an average low of 15 degrees.
Spring arrives in April with temperatures warming from the 50’s to the low 70’s in May. Summer months are from May through September with an average high temperature of 75 degrees. July is the warmest month with an average high of 83 degrees.
Precipitation in the summer is higher than any other month with an average of 4 inches of rain a month.
The lush mountainous area of Bash Bish is heavily forested with maple, oak, beech, and hemlock. The leaves of the forest turn beautiful colors in the fall around mid-October making the state park very picturesque and pleasant with cooler temps and fewer crowds.
Springtime has many beautiful wildflowers blooming. The Timber Rattlesnake can be seen in the spring and fall months laying on ledges, logs, and other tight spaces. The forest provides shelter to many animals year-round such as black bears, bobcats, porcupines, and snakes.
When did Bash Bish Falls Become a State Park
The name Bash Bish Falls comes from Native American Mohican tribe origin. Bash Bish was a woman of the tribe who was accused of committing adultery. The punishment was death over the waterfall while tied in a canoe, the falls today resembling that appearance of a woman falling over the rocks.
Bash Bish Falls became a state park in 1924 after Massachusetts Department of Conservation purchased 400 acres surrounding Bash Bish Falls. In 1960’s, Massachusetts state purchased over 4,000 more acres around the area naming the land Mount Washington State Forest.
Things to do in Bash Bish Falls State Park
Bash Bish Falls State Park offers picnic areas, restrooms, and hiking trails to a falls view platform and trails down to the bottom of the falls. The state park connects to the larger Mt. Washington National Forest and Taconic State Park and has trails into New York State’s Taconic State Park. Our State Park Visitors Guide highlights activities for you to enjoy below.
Hike Bash Bish Falls Trail
This trail starts in Taconic State Park and leads to Bash Bish Falls Viewpoint. A 2.1-mile trail with 521 feet elevation gain, the trail is for all levels.
Hike to the Falls from Bash Bish Falls State Park
The trail to the falls from the Massachusetts side is steeper and shorter at only ¾ mile with over 300 feet in elevation descending to the falls. This trail is rated difficult for its steepness.
Fishing is available in Bash Bish Brook further downstream from the falls.
Swim Below the Falls
Swimming is only allowed downstream from the falls, and not in the main falls pool. Head downstream to find a pool to swim in. There are many injuries and deaths in the state park from people drowning and getting injured on the rocks and pools. Proceed with caution and listen to warning signs.
Walk Across the Border to New York
The 2.1-mile trail leads you west into New York State’s Taconic State Park.
Pack a lunch and bring it to picnic in the park. Pack out what you pack in. There are black bears that could be harmed if they come across any trash or eat human food.
Birds of prey can be seen around the state park such as the peregrine falcons.
When to go to Bash Bish Falls State Park
The state park is open from sunrise to 30 minutes before sunset. The park is open year-round, and the falls can be enjoyed year-round.
Parking is free, however limited. The state park gets very crowded during warm summer days and is busy year-round. Arriving in the early morning will provide more solitude to enjoy the falls as the state park gets busy throughout the day.
Must-Have Things to Bring to Bash Bish Falls State Park
Bash Bish Falls State Park has steep hiking trails with slick rocks and plenty of wildlife to view. Bring all of your necessities as the park does not offer any services. Pack out what you pack in and avoid encounters with wildlife, such as black bears. There are frequently injuries from people falling in the stream or near the falls. Listen to warning signs and don’t climb near the falls.
Water may seem like an obvious item to bring along with you to the park, however, List of Parks advises bringing larger supplies of water.
There is no food available near the park, so stop at a nearby town to bring food and snacks to the park. There are picnic sites available at the park itself.
Pack out what you pack in and don’t leave any trash around.
The wooded and forested area can disorientate hikers. Bring a park map
Proper Hiking Boots
Frequent rain can make the trails muddy and the steep terrain requires solid hiking boots with good soles.
Bring a rain jacket and waterproof shoes as there are frequent rain showers year-round and especially in the summer months.
Fall, winter, and Spring can be chilly with temperatures reaching down into the 20’s. Pack lots of warm layers.
Bear encounters are rare here because of the high volume of people visiting the falls, however during certain times of the year or day when the park is quieter, black bears wander around the state park.
Where to Stay in Bash Bish Falls State Park
The closest campground is located in neighboring Taconic State Park Campground in New York State, just a 5-minute drive west of Bash Bish Falls. The campground is by reservation and does get very popular in the summer months. In the town of Copake just an 8-minute drive from the park is Waubeeka Family Campground.
Hillsdale offers several hotels and lodges to stay at such as the Holiday House Motel, Silvanus Lodge, 7 Willows Bed & Breakfast, and the Bell House.
Food Nearby Bash Bish Falls State Park
There is no food located inside of the park. 3.9 miles down the road, an 8-minute drive, is Copake General Store. The store sells a variety of treats, groceries, and snacks.
Copake town offers several other food options such as Church Street Deli & Pizza, Dad’s Copake Diner, and Clock Tower Pub & Grill.
Hillsdale is another nearby town offering a variety of food options and a supermarket. Just a 12-minute drive away from the park you will find food options such as Roe Jan Brewing Co., O’s Hillsdale Diner, Mount Washington House, Four Brothers Pizza Inn, and the Hillsdale Supermarket.
Airports Near Bash Bish Falls State Park
The closest airport is Albany International Airport in New York State. Albany is about 62.3 miles north, a 1-hour drive by car. Renting a car to drive through the beautiful countryside of New York to Bash Bish Falls is the best way to experience the state park.